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Risk in highway project occurs at various stages of projects development thereby limiting in most cases the overall achievement of projects objectives. These shortfalls necessitate an investigation into risk management techniques used in highway construction project in Akwa Ibom state. The study seeks to provide an insight on selected risk factors and its influence in project performance, to examine the risk management technique used in highway construction, evaluate the effectiveness of risk management techniques and to develop a new risk management framework to improve risk management of highway project in the area. A descriptive design approach was adopted to achieve these objectives. A field survey involving 73 respondents (client, contractor and consultant) was conducted. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and analyzed using mean score, relative effective index, factor analysis and kruski – Wallis test. The result revealed that project funding challenges and construction cost overrun were the most significant risk factors. The study further shows that in risk identification, brainstorming and consulting expert were most significant. In risk analysis, consulting expert and the use of computer and other model were the most significant while reducing the possibility of occurrence was most significant during risk responds. The result also reveals that: in the level of effectiveness of risk identification technique, consulting expert and brainstorming were significant. In risk analysis, consulting expert was the most effective risk analysis technique while reducing the possibility of occurrence and reducing the consequences of risk were most effective risk responds technique. The study also reveals a significant variation in the perception of respondent as regarding influence of the identified risk factor on project performance and a no significant variation in their perception of risk management techniques and its effectiveness in highway construction project. A framework developed is generic and its adoption will enhance effective and efficient risk management of highway construction project in Akwa Ibom State. The study recommended that highway project should be executed in respect of the available funds and risk factors should be properly managed to reduce cost and time overrun thus improve highway project timely completion and performance.


CHAPTER                            TITLE                                                                 PAGE

                                                Cover Page                                                                  i

Title Page                                                                    ii

DECLARATION                                                       iii

CERTIFICATION                                                     iv

DEDICATION                                                           v

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT                                         vi

ABSTRACT                                                               vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                           viii

LIST OF TABLES                                                     xiii

LIST OF FIGURES                                                   xv


1.1       Background to the Study                                                                               1

1.2       Statement of Research Problem                                                                      3

1.3       Research Question                                                                                          5

1.4       Aim and Objective of the study                                                                     5

1.5       Research Hypothesis                                                                                       5

1.6       Significance of the Study                                                                               6

1.7       Scope of the Study                                                                                         7

1.8       Assumptions of the Study                                                                              7

1.9       Structure of the Study                                                                                                7



2.1       Preamble                                                                                                         8

2.2       The Concept of Risk                                                                                       8

2.3       The Project Life Cycle                                                                                    9

2.3.1    Pre-project Phase                                                                                            12

2.3.2    Planning and Design Phase                                                                             12

2.3.3    Contractor Selection Phase                                                                             13

2.3.4    Project Mobilization Phase                                                                             14

2.3.5    Project Operation Phase                                                                                  14

2.3.6    Project Termination Phase                                                                              15

2.4       Risks in the Project Life Cycle                                                                       16

2.5       Risks in Highway Infrastructural Project                                                       17

2.6       Risk Management                                                                                           19

2.7       The Risk Management Process                                                                       19

2.7.1    Risk Management Planning                                                                            21

2.7.2   Risk Identification                                                                                          21

2.7.3    Risk Assessment and Analysis                                                                       24

2.7.4    Qualitative Techniques                                                                                   27

2.7.5    Risk handling or control                                                                                 30

2.8       Risk Management in Construction Industry                                                   33

2.9       Benefits of Risk Management                                                                        40

2.10     Theories Underpinning the Research                                                              41

2.10.1  System Theory                                                                                                41

2.10.2  Stakeholder Theory                                                                                         41

2.10.3  Psychological Risk Approach                                                                         42

2.10.4  Contingency Theory                                                                                       42

2.11     Conceptual framework for Risk Management                                                43


3.1       Preamble                                                                                                         45

3.2       Research Design                                                                                             45

3.3       Area of Study                                                                                                 46

3.4       The Population of the Study                                                                           47

3.5       Sampling and Sampling Technique                                                                 47

3.6       Instrument for Data Collection                                                                       48

3.7       Variable of Study                                                                                           48

3.8       Ethical Issues                                                                                                  49

3.9       Reliability of Instrument                                                                                 50

3.10     Method of Data Analysis                                                                               50


4.1       Preamble                                                                                                         51

4.2       Responds Rate                                                                                                            51

4.2.1    Respondent Characteristics                                                                            51

4.2.2    Sex of Respondents                                                                                        52

4.2.3    Educational Qualification                                                                               52

4.2.4    Professional Affiliation                                                                                   52

4.2.5    Respondent Working Experience                                                                   53

4.2.6    Respondent stake in highway Infrastructure                                                  53

4.2.7    Respondent Profession                                                                                   54

4.2.8    Respondent number of Project involved                                                        54

4.2.9    Value of Highway Project Managed                                                              55

4.2.10  Respondent Level of Satisfaction with highway Project                               55

4.2.11  Respondent Knowledge of Risk Management of Highway

Construction Infrastructure                                                                            56

4.3       Risk Factors Associated with the Construction of Highway

infrastructure project                                                                                       56

4.4       Variation in the Perception of Risk Factors Associated

with Highway Construction Infrastructure                                                    58

4.5       Risk management techniques Currently used in

highway Construction Infrastructure                                                              59

4.5.1    Risk Identification Techniques Currently Used in

Highway Construction Infrastructure                                                             60

4.5.2    Risk Analysis/Assessments Techniques Currently Used in

Highway Construction Infrastructure                                                             60

4.5.3    Risk Responds Techniques Currently Used in

Highway Construction Infrastructure                                                             61

4.6       Variation in the Perception of important Risk Management

Technique currently used in Highway Construction Infrastructure               62

4.7       Level of Effectiveness of Risk Management Technique

Currently used in Highway Infrastructure                                                      63

4.7.1    Level of Effectiveness of Risk Identification

Technique Currently used in Highway Infrastructure                                    63

4.7.2    Level of Effectiveness of Risk Analysis/ Assessments

Technique Currently used in Highway Infrastructure                                    64

4.7.3    Level of Effectiveness of Risk Responds Technique

Currently used in Highway Infrastructure                                                      65

4.8       Variation in the Perception of the Effectiveness

of the Risk Management Techniques Currently used in

Highway Construction Infrastructure                                                             66

4.9       Framework Development and Validation                                                      67

4.10     The Concept of Effective Risk Management

Framework of Highway Infrastructure                                                           67

4.11     Development of Effective Risk management framework                              68

4.12     Framework Validation                                                                                    73

4.12.1  Results of Framework Validation                                                                   74

4.13     Discussion of Findings                                                                                   77

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5.1       Summary                                                                                                         82

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                      83

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                          84

5.4       Contribution to Knowledge                                                                            84

5.5       Recommendations for Further Study                                                                         84

REFERENCES                                                                                            86

APPENDIX                                                                                                   91



  1. Background to the Study

The development of infrastructure is one of the most important activities that can boost the business of various industries, thereby increasing the economy of such state or country. Construction industry is one of such industry and its projects are always unique with risk rising from a number of different sources.

Risk in its simplest form mean uncertainty with a recognise probability distribution (Barkley, 2004). According to Holmes (2002) risk is not the actual being of a problem rather the possibility that a certain problem may arise in the future. Baloi and Price (2003) define risk as the likelihood of an unfavorable incidents occurring to a project. According to Edward and Bowen (1998), risk is the probability that an adverse event occurs during a stated period of time. It is widely accepted across the construction management body of knowledge that a project risk is any even or series of events whether motivated internally or externally, when occurred will negatively affect the project objectives, goals, functionality, performance, time, cost and quality (Devripasadh, 2007).

Ashworth and Hogg (2002), Shou et al. (2004) and Florence and Linda, (2006) stated that “projects have life cycles or a sequence of stages and activities from origin to completion and there is always a degree of risk associated in each stage”. Risks are major component of the overall cost of construction and their distribution has significant effect on the project financial plan.

The major problem associated with most highway projects in Nigeria is always, cost overrun coupled with delay on completion Odeyinka, (2000); Tar and Carr (2000); Odeyinka (2000), Nasir (2003) and Lowa and Kaka (2007) pointed out that too often this risk is not dealt with satisfactorily which has resulted into poor project delivery in Nigeria. They submitted that to solve this problem the is  need to integrate risk management practice into estimation of construction project cost and time, as this will help considerably to avoid excess overrun.

Construction project risk management is the process of identifying, analysing and responding to construction project risk (Project Management Institute, PMI, 2003). It involves the maximisation of positive result (opportunities) and the minimisation of negative results and its consequences (treats). It is also defined as a planned form of identifying and evaluating risk, selecting, establishing and applying options for the handling of the risk (Kremljak, 2004). Project risk management involves conducting risk management planning, engaging in risk identification, completing risk analysis, creating risk respond action plan, monitoring and controlling risk on a project while risk management is described as the difficult area within construction management (Winch, 2002; Potts, 2008), its application is promoted in all projects in order to avoid negative consequences Potts (2008).

Risk is associated to any project regardless of the industry and thus risk management should be of interest to any project manager.

1.2       Research Problem

Contemporary project management practice is characterised by late delivery, exceeded budgets, reduced functionality and questionable quality Williams (1999) while risk management is a recognised practice that helps clients deliver project on schedule and within budget (Project Management Institute, 2002). One of the challenges facing the construction industry is to manage the risk of cost overruns and

deliver project within budget. At the beginning of the last decade, Brando (1990) stated that in construction, the new orthodoxy is to accept risk and the uncertainty.

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Latham (1994) put forward that no construction project is not risk free, and risk can only be managed, minimised, shared, transferred or accepted; It cannot be ignored. The risk can cause loses that lead to increase in cost, time, delays and poor quality standard neglecting the achievement of projects objectives Simu (2006);

1.3       Research Questions

In order to achieve the purpose, the following research questions have been formulated to support the investigation.

i.            What are the risk factors in Highway construction projects in Akwa Ibom?

ii.           How is risk management techniques perceived in Highway construction projects?

iii.        How effective is the use of risk management techniques in practice?

iv.        How can risk management practice of Highway construction be improved?

1.4       Aim and Objectives

The study aims at developing a risk management framework to respond to the management of highway construction infrastructure projects in Nigeria. To fulfill the above aim, the following specific objectives are to:

         i.         evaluate the risk factors associated with the construction of highway infrastructure;

ii.        examine the risk management techniques currently used in highway      construction project;

iii.        evaluate the effectiveness of risk management techniques currently used in highway construction infrastructure; and

iv.        develop a risk management framework for improving the management of highway construction project risk factors.

1.5       Research Hypothesis

            The hypotheses of the study state that:

i.          There is no significant variation in the perception of important risk factors associated with highway construction projects among the clients, consultants and contractors’.

ii.         There is no significant variation in the perception of important risk management techniques currently used in highway construction projects among the clients, consultants and contractors’.

iii.        There is no significant variation in the perception of the effectiveness of the management techniques currently used in highway construction projects among the clients, consultants and contractors’.

1.6       Justification of the Study

The purpose of this research is to evaluate risk management practices use in the highway construction infrastructure and how practitioners are managing risk in everyday situation. Risk management technique currently used in highway construction infrastructure was examined. This will prove useful to users with knowledge of selecting appropriate risk management technique of highway construction projects and know how effective these tools are deployed.

The research also attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of various risk management techniques currently used in highway construction infrastructure and further encourage construction stakeholders on the need to strengthen the ineffective techniques and therefore provide solution to check the effect. The fact that risk management applies not only in pre-contract stages in highway construction project was emphasis. The risk management framework developed will further strengthen the existing framework.

It is hoped that the result of this study would be of immense benefit to the clients, contractors or developers, consultants to meet their commitments and minimise negative impact on highway construction project performance in relation to time, cost, environmental sustainability, stakeholder management, and quality objectives.

Lastly this study serves as additional literature to complement existing work on the study and act as a springboard to other studies.

1.7       The Scope of the Study

This research focuses on highway construction infrastructure project and is based on theories of risk management described in the literature. It is complemented by a study of a road construction project in Akwa Ibom State where key project stakeholders are involved. It is necessary to state that this research acknowledges risk management techniques in highway construction project during the planning, design, and construction stages.

1.8       Limitation of the Study

The major limitation to the researcher is the inability to assess the records or the archival data of some companies/organisations that would have helped in gathering more information citing anti-company policy as the main reason.

1.9       Structure of the Study

In this study, it is assumed that the respondents have experience in highway construction risk management and are therefore competent to give opinion which can be relied upon.



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